If talking beach holidays in Europe most wouldn’t credit the UK as a worthy destination preferring to witter on in their travel blogs about their last sun-drenched break in Spain, Portugal or Italy. But let’s face it, the UK does have many wonderful sandy stretches and, when the sun does show its head, the Brits love nothing more than to don their shorts and T-shirts, flash their pasty legs and head to the nearest coast. There are many good beaches and coves in the UK – sure there’s your stereotypical older English resorts with deckchairs and piers, but also many that are off the beaten track, great for surfing, sailing or shallow waters ideal for a cool dip or some crabbing action with the family. Here’s our travel guide and low down to the UKs top beaches:
Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales
If off the beaten track is your style then Barafundle Bay is certainly that! Unreachable by car, this sheltered sandy bay is stunning and accessed via the cliff path from the little harbour of Stackpole Quay. Head on past the sand dunes, through the old arches and down the steep wooden path for a day relaxing and enjoying some rays and the occasional chilly dip!
Whiterocks in Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Winning our prize for the most dramatic coastal setting, Whiterocks in County Antrim offers far more than simply a great beach to visit. Its maze of coves, caves and impressive knobbly rocks poking up from the sea are a photographers dream and great to explore. With such enchanting names as Wishing Arch, Giant’s Head and Lions Paw, it’s a place ideal for a picnic lunch and makes a great family day out.
Hunstanton, Norfolk, East Anglia, England
Fancy some candy-floss, a donkey ride, 99-style ice-creams with the all-important chocolate flake and some traditional fish and chips? Then head to popular English resort of Hunstanton. For years a popular blue-flag beach resort, it’s now taken a modern twist and is well renowned on the UKs kite-surfing and sand-buggying scene for all those that fancy some action.
Brighton, East-Sussex, England.
We couldn’t possibly talk about UK beaches without mentioning the action packed beach in England’s popular resort of Brighton. 2012 sees it become a training ground for the up and coming London Olympics and this traditional laid-back hot-spot is now home to an impressive training and fitness centre where beach volleyball, ‘beachminton’ and many other sandy activities are on offer.
Strathy in Thurso, Highlands, Scotland.
Don your surf gear and head to the Highlands for a swell time on one of Scotlands most stunning coasts. Not the easiest to find but worth the trip, follow the locals and the road running to the east side of the river to the clear waters and lifeguard protected beach.
Cranford Cliffs, Poole, Dorset, England.
It’s true – the locals do know best! If looking to escape the throngs of tourists that grace Pooles beaches each summer head to Cranford Cliffs Chine. A stunning blue flag beach awaits with relatively few sun-seekers and all the facilities you would expect – toilets, shop, lifeguards etc.